CCS7: 3125109

  D-STAR Callsign Suffix

  One of the capabilities of the D-STAR system is to route calls to a specific callsign, so that one person can set his/her radio up to call someone. This is almost the same as dialling someone’s phone number – the network routes the call for you.

  It gets even better. The network is designed in a way that it is possible to add a suffix to a callsign. For example, KC1AMF can also be registered on the network as [KC1AMF D] (there are 8 characters in total, the D is the 8th character) so that, for example, someone sends data, this data can be routed to KC1AMF D and at the same time KC1AMF can be engaged in a voice conversation. So long as there is infrastructure to support this, the system will do it as it treats the two call signs as two separate station. This is comparable to someone having a phone number and a fax number in an office and being able to make a call and send a fax at the same time. So far so good.

  The tricky bit is that many people registered their call sign with a variety of suffixes to route their calls to, say, their radio at home, the car, the handheld, etc.. The way this has been done is (this is not my case, what follow is just an example) by registering, for example, [KC1AMF  ], [KC1AMF B], [KC1AMF C] and then using all these callsigns each in a different radio. Although this sounds cool and exciting, it makes a user less easy to reach. Imagine that I am at home, using KC1AMF to comminicate with someone, then I go out in the car and turn on my vehicle radio which uses, for example, KC1AMF B. As soon as I link to a different repeater with the car radio, I am out of reach for all those who direct their calls to KC1AMF. Similarly, imagine that I park the car at the train station, cross the city underground and come out the other side where I can connect a third repeater with my handheld that identifies me as KC1AMF C. In this case, none of those who call [KC1AMF  ] or [KC1AMF B] will be able to reach me. They will only be able to find me or route their call back to me if I call them with my handheld and they become aware that I am now connected as KC1AMF C. Going back to the telephone example, it’s like leaving the phone office in the office and have a different number in the car, then walk away from the car with a mobile phone and have a third number that makes you reachable on your mobile phone. To me, this sounds crazy.

  The best is to have only one ID and being able to use it regardless, anywhere, and on any device. This doesn’t only apply to D-STAR, it’s the same with the email, phone number, etc.: you may change device but you are always reachable.

  This application of the suffix is great in case of data routing as in the above example, or repeater/gateway configuration, e.g. you have one repeater in one location, with two RF outputs using the same callsign but one operating in VHF (suffix C) and one in UHF (suffix B).

  Sure all your friends can have 3 memories in their radios with all your callsigns, and potentially will be able to reach you anyway by calling you just six times (a couple of times for each, just in case) but this sounds like so much hassle and also so prehistorical…